Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Freaks: You're One of Us (2020)

I really have to stop doing this to myself.  I see some movie or TV show about mutants and I feel compelled to watch it.  It ends up being generic and lame and I swear off the genre until the next one comes along.  My latest attempt at punishing myself is Freaks: You're One of Us.  It follows Wendy, who thinks she’s normal.  She has a husband and a child.  She works a crappy job to pay the bills, which she’s behind on.  She wants a promotion, but she has a horrible boss.

Add to this some homeless guy named Marek who starts hanging around the diner where she works.  Marek tells Wendy to stop taking her medication, which is a little bit freaky.  How does Marek know what kind of pills she’s taking?  Marek tells Wendy that they’re not that different.  If she wants to know more, she’ll have to forgo her pills.

Lo and behold, Wendy can throw things really far, whether it be a ball or a person.  She meets Marek at an abandoned park to learn more.  He has regenerative abilities.  The government knows about those with powers and medicates them.  Her coworker, Elmar, has the ability to control electricity to some extent.  He can power a light bulb like Uncle Fester or he can shoot lightning bolts at people.

From there, the movie doesn’t really do much.  It’s not said where the powers come from, but it’s implied that they’re genetic.  There’s a secret government agency that either medicates or imprisons those with abilities.  Yes, Wendy is dangerous, but it’s not nice to force people to medicate themselves, especially when the government is lying about it.

There are issues of free will and self determination at play, but the movie doesn’t really do much with that.  Instead, it seems to go more for the cool shots of people flying through the air and arcing electricity bolts.

Wendy is the protagonist, Elmar is the antagonist and Marek is more of the reluctant moderator/trainer.  Even then, the characters aren’t particularly well developed.  We know that using these powers will come at a cost.  You’ll be ostracized and force to hide your abilities.  If you want to live on the outside, that means the pills.

Oddly enough, it seems that the pills work equally well on everyone, although I’m not clear on that.  It’s possible that the dosage or composition varies based on ability.  I know that there are those that were imprisoned.  It’s possible that the medication didn’t work on at least some of them.

Which brings me back to my earlier point:  Not much is said in the way of morality.  It’s not fair to imprison people, even when they have an alternative that means giving up so much.  That’s not much of an option, either.  Both Wendy and Elmar don’t know what the pills are or that they have powers.  It’s not clear how the government knows in Elmar’s case, but Wendy is shown to have killed someone when she was a child.

There’s so much potential.  I don’t know if this was meant to be the first part of something bigger.  It’s also possible that the script was pared back.  I feel like it was a very basic story line, almost like something someone would do as a school project.  Yes, I realize not everyone has the bankroll of DC or Marvel.  I’d recommend avoiding this one.  It ended up being a waste of 90 minutes.

IMDb link


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